The 2022 KT Consortium Annual Meeting took place, for first time in three years physical, June 8-10, 2022 in Comwell Borupgaard, Snekkersten. It was an incredibly positive experience to be physical again, and it was the general feeling that physical meetings are by far better than on-line or other similar arrangements.
The meeting was held, as typically during the last years, in partial overlap and synergy with the CERE Discussion Meeting (at same place 7-9 June, 2022). The two meetings shared a plenary oral and poster session and participants from both meetings could follow diverse parallel sessions.
The KT Consortium Annual Meeting was attended by about 55 faculty and researchers from DTU Chemical Engineering and by 22 external participants (many from member companies of KT Consortium and other industrial colleagues). Most were physical with a few on-line participations.
Particular highlights were the invited industrial talks by Dr. Bent Sarup of Alfa Laval (towards a carbon neutral 2030), Dr. Arne Staby from Novo Nordisk (on impact of downstream modelling in the biopharmaceutical industry), and Drs. Behnam Khadem and Sander Dubbelman from Henkel (on digital twin challenges in R&D consumer products) as well as the invited academic talk from professor Antonis Kokossis from the National Technical University of Athens (on the systematic development of biobased industries using a model-based and an optimization-driven process integration approach).
The work of Dr. Neveli Novak won the best poster award (Rigorous phase equilibrium calculation methods for strong electrolyte solutions: The isothermal flash), while the oral presentation of Dr. Oscar Andres Prado Rubio (Bioprocess intensification-technology development and assessment) won the best oral presentation award.
The Annual meeting included in total 30 oral presentations (plenaries and in parallel sessions) and 27 poster presentations. Electrolyte and water thermodynamics and recent developments in PSE and biotechnology were the major areas of focus during this year's meeting, which also included intense discussions on AI/ML and digitalisation. The meeting also included an overview lecture on the ERC electrolyte project (prof. Georgios Kontogeorgis), a lecture on the extensive software developments from associate professor Xiaodong Liang, a presentation on digitalisation and new investments at DTU Chemical Engineering from associate professor Jakob Huusom and the final lecture of the meeting from associate professor Martin Andersson on how cluster formation may explain water's anomalous properties.
It can be seen that the meeting included a wide range of fundamental and engineering applications which can all be of relevance to chemical and biochemical industries. There was a general feeling that the meeting was a success and it should continue in the same or similar formats in the coming years.
Some of the industrial participants presented their view on the importance of the work developed at the KT Consortium in the article Thermodynamics as a framework for technological transition
The KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2021 took place online together with CERE Discussion Meeting following a similar format as in the previous years. We had a good industrial participation in all sessions, as well as invited academic participants. This year’s Annual Meeting was very well attended by all the parties (industry, academia and internal participants) with industrial participation in all the sessions. At the meeting we had following invited speakers for the plenary lectures:
- Nevin Gerek (AVEVA) - New paradigm in process simulation
- Susanna Kuitunen (NESTE Engineering) - Opportunities of AI in process modelling
- Niels Lindeloff (TotalEnergies) - Equilibrium thermodynamics in a non-equilibrium world
- Florian Preis (IBM) - IBM quantum computing
This year we held one special session in the last day of the meeting dedicated to the RENSENG II Project (H2020-MSCA-RISE) which DTU is part of, where project related companies and academia participants has joined (not only for the session, but many have attended several sessions of the meeting).
This was the first meeting to be organized in a full online format as a result of ongoing pandemics.
The meeting consisted of a one full day of talks from KT Consortium associated faculty members.
Presentations from PhD students, Postdocs and Researchers were available as pre-recorded presentations under two main topics: Thermodynamics and Properties and Process Systems Engineering. A pre-recorded Software Workshop has been offered as well.
The KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2019 was organized jointly together with CERE Discussion Meeting for a second year in a row. The meeting had invited speakers form industry (DSM, Mitsubishi, and Nouryon) and academia (IFP Energies Nouvelles) who presented their latest developments within chemical engineering alongside PhD students and researchers form KT Consortium.
You can learn more about the KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2019 by reading the industry comments in the interviews below.
Covestro: CO2 becomes a useful raw material
Covestro is a leading supplier of premium polymers. Recently, the company has substituted fossil raw materials previously used to manufacture polyols for the waste gas CO2.
“Currently, we produce polyols that are made with up to 20% CO2. The substitution does not only save fossil raw materials. Since the oil doesn’t have to be refined, the overall production costs less energy and thereby becomes further sustainable – and CO2 is given a new use,” says Dr. JoséFonseca, process optimization specialist with Covestro Deutschland AG.
Implementing new processes including use of biomass and CO2 as raw material requires extensive research. This was partly the motivation for Covestro’s decision to join the KT Consortium one year ago.
“In our own laboratories, we have done extensive experiments over the last 30 or 40 years, providing us with data for all systems relevant to our main products. But as we move into these new innovative solutions, we will sometimes find ourselves without data. This is where software like ICAS comes in very handy,” José Fonseca explains.
Syngenta: Do not underestimate the softer benefits
The annual meeting 2019 of the KT Consortium saw several industry presentations and comments addressing how software can assist in developing more sustainable products and processes.
“I really enjoyed the session on the various functionalities in ICAS. I mainly use the ProPred functionalities for property prediction. I have always found the software easy to use, but maybe tend to ignore some of the added functionalities. My feeling is, we will be able to obtain more value from the software,” says Dr. Anita Rea, heading the Process Studies Group (PSG) at Syngenta.
A leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources, Syngenta has been a KT Consortium member for a decade.
“Highly complex processes underpin the development, production, formulation and application of our active ingredients and products. A fundamental understanding of the phenomena involved improves both identified solutions and robustness, but it’s not easy! That has led us to get involved in the consortium,” says Anita Rea.
Syngenta does not limit itself to using software developed in the consortium, but has engaged in several joint projects over the years.
“I like what I see as “the KT Consortium concept” - excellent science is complemented by a strong drive to develop usable tools to help in its implementation leading to a tangible output.”
Further, collaborating with academia is about more than software, Anita Rea emphasizes:
“The membership allows us to send people to conferences such as this one. Through our participation, we stay up to date on the various developments in chemical engineering modelling, just as we have direct access to external experts. Finally, a conference can be a nice venue attracting talent to Syngenta. One should not underestimate the value of these softer benefits!”
Nouryon: Experimental data adds power to modelling
Nouryon is a leading producer of essential chemistry in the manufacture of everyday products such as paper, plastics, building materials, and personal care items. All products are sold business-to-business, albeit that salt is also manufactured for direct household consumption. The company is a long-standing member of the KT-Consortium.
“We take a strong interest in the software developed in the consortium for modelling of physical properties, since this is helpful in designing both our products and our processes,” says Dr. Antoon Ten Kate, Lead Scientist at Nouryon.
“The unit I’m part of assists the various business units in Nouryon. We provide expertise and capability that each separate business unit cannot maintain, typically in request by the business unit. We stimulate research where we can, including by suggesting ideas.”
Usually, a business unit will approach Ten Kate and his colleagues with a problem.
“This could either be for optimizing a well-known process, or for instance a new process intended to improve sustainability. As an example, some of our processes currently give various salts as byproducts. This doesn’t fit in with our circular economy focus. We want to either eliminate such byproducts or ensure that they become valuable instead of being waste. Regardless of the specific challenge, we always take a structured approach and begin by looking at the physical and chemical properties involved in the particular case. To that end, the ICAS software developed in the consortium is helpful. Not least functionalities such as ProPred and ProCAMD.”
ProPred is a tool for predicting the properties of a substance, while ProCAMD does the exact opposite: given a set of observed or desired properties, which substance(s) may give these properties. While useful, the tools can be improved further according to Ten Kate, his view carrying extra weight since he does not only represent his own company, but also chairs the KT Consortium Advisory Board:
“The software is excellent. Still, you always have limitations when you choose to do everything in silico. Many events happen at the same time during manufacturing, making the systems highly complicated. Also, ICAS builds upon a data bank. If your system is not in the bank, you may have a problem. In any case, you will never be able to rely entirely on modelling. By including even just simple experiments to verify the calculations, the tools can become much more powerful.”
Until October 2018, Nouryon was the specialty chemicals division of AkzoNobel. Following the carveout a branding campaign introduced the company’s new name carrying the slogan “Hello again!” Smilingly, Ten Kate argues that the same slogan could be applied to the KT Consortium Annual Meeting, since the event is co-organized with another entity at DTU, the Center for Energy Resources Engineering (CERE).
“Originally, the activities of CERE and KT Consortium were in the same group, so seeing them organize their main annual events together is to me “Hello again!” We are members of both industry consortia, but frankly I am not sure I see the logic in having two different consortia, especially since they seem to be quite aligned. I should underline that this is my personal view, and maybe I cannot represent all companies in the consortia here. I do understand that various political issues lie behind the division, but anyhow my advice would be to seek some kind of clarifying justification. If you maintain a division, it should be based on a clear reasoning. Otherwise, you risk that both entities fall apart, which would really be a pity.”
Novozymes: Savings on water and energy consumption
As a world-leading supplier of industrial enzymes, and situated in the vicinity of DTU, Novozymes is a natural KT Consortium member.
“We have a general interest in KT activities. Currently, projects which may contribute to increasedsustainability in our processes have extra focus. We are constantly looking for possible new processesable to lower consumption of water, energy, and other resources, while maintaining the high quality ofend products,” says Dr. Michael Frost, downstream processing specialist at Novozymes.
“Also, we welcome the ongoing expansion of the Pilot Plant facilities at DTU Chemical Engineering. We see this as an important link between the lab experiments and the industrial scale.”
Michael Frost works in recovery development at Novozymes. In relation to enzyme production, recovery is what happens after microorganisms have produced the relevant enzyme by fermentation. The resulting “soup” is not a commercial product. A series of processes is needed to remove impurities and condense the content of desired enzymes into either a liquid or solid end product.
“The key word here is control. The better we are able to control our processes, the less water and energy will we need to get to the end result. Reduced consumption of raw materials equals better sustainability, and also improves the business case,” Michael Frost explains.
Since obtaining his PhD in chemical engineering at DTU more than four years ago, Michael Frost has worked in Novozymes, but has stayed in touch with DTU through the KT-Consortium.
“I have enjoyed the ongoing contact with my former colleagues. The community around the KT Consortium is quite remarkable. There is a high degree of openness regarding the science taking part at DTU Chemical Engineering, making it easy for a company like us to see where the possibilities for collaboration lie. Further, I find the group to be alert to topics which are relevant in an industrial context. This applies equally to pharma and biotechnology, the two main fields in the work of the consortium. And last but not least, we just find the faculty members easy to talk to.”
Glaxo SmithKline:A glimpse of a digitized future
One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations, Glaxo SmithKline (GSK), researches, develops, and manufactures innovative medicines, vaccines, and consumer health care products.
“In my job at a manufacturing site, we are mainly reactive. So, some of the tools presented here, like the ICAS software for property prediction, are maybe more relevant to my colleagues in research and development. Still, these tools might also be useful for us for diagnostic purposes,” says Chemical Engineering Associate at GSK Natasha Rabaeijs.
One difference between the conference presentations and her daily work life has been striking to Natasha Rabaeijs:
“There is so much data available from the projects, we hear about. Given the equipment we currently have at our plant, this kind of extensive data collection is just not possible. But later, as our equipment gradually will be worn out and become replaced, I think this will also be a part of the future at a manufacturing site. By that time, we will have better use for software like ICAS. For instance, I find the functionality on azeotropes interesting.”
An azeotrope is a mixture of two or more liquids which, when boiled, will still have the same proportions of the constituents as the un-boiled mixture. This has huge practical implications, as it is not possible to separate the constituents by distillation. A functionality in ICAS provides the azeotropes of a given substance.
Natasha Rabaeijs attends the KT Consortium annual meeting for her first time:
“It is the policy in GSK, that younger chemical engineering graduates like myself get the chance to attend this type of conferences. Obviously, I cannot bring as much to the table as can the more experienced colleagues here. But I like the atmosphere at the conference and just try to absorb as much knowledge as possible!”
KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2018
The KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2018 (19-21 June, Rugstedgaard, Rugsted Kyst, Denmark) was organized jointly together with CERE Discussion Meeting for the first time. The meeting debuted with a Software Workshop were latest updates of software from KT Consortium were presented and demonstrated. Presentations from PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and selected faculty members were covering properties and thermodynamics, process systems engineering and biochemical engineering topics. The meeting had several invited speakers from academia and industry with talks on different topics:
- John O’Connell (University of Virginia, USA) - Analysis of chemical process systems with explicit accounting for entropy generation
- Ioannis Tsivintzelis (Aristotle Univeristy of Thessaloniki, Greece) - Phase equilibria for biodiesel-related compounds with CPA and Pharmaceuticals and polymers phase equilibria
- Nevin Gerek (AVEVA, USA) - Challenges and solutions for next generations process simulators.
- Patrick Piccione (Syngenta) – More industrial perspective on modelling for chemical engineering applications
KT Consortium Annual Meeting 2017
KT Consortium Annual Meeting (6-8 June 2017, Beach Hotel Marienlyst, Elsinore, Denmark) started with a visit of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (DTU), a hands-on software workshop, and a Pilot Plant Tour, all taking place at KT DTU. Oral and poster presentations were given by the PhD and postdoctoral researchers in the second day of the meeting. The last day of the meeting included presentations by KT Consortium associated faculty members and invited speakers form TOTAL (France), Genesis Oil and Gas Consultants (UK), and National Technical University of Athens (Greece).